Civic Infrastructure Lab Members and Partners

We are always open to new members of our collaborative community, including current PhD, master's or undergraduate students, faculty and post-docs, members from outside the ComArtSci and MSU community, and prospective PhD students. 

If you think you may be a good fit and are interested in sitting in on one of our meetings, please email Kjerstin or Ava Francesca.

MSU Faculty and PhD Students

Dr. Kjerstin Thorson

Civic Infrastructure Lab Director
Our fearless leader
Email: thorsonk@msu.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Kjerstin Thorson (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is the Brandt Endowed Associate Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations. Kjerstin also serves as the Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. Her work examines the role of digital platforms in shaping exposure to political information.


Ava Francesca Battocchio

Graduate Student Lab Manager
Ph.D. Student
Email: battocch@msu.edu
Read more: Personal Website

 

Ava Francesca Battocchio (MS, Loyola University Chicago) is an Information & Media doctoral student in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations and is affiliated with the Rural Computing Research Consortium. Their research explores rural and post-industrial community structures, hybrid civic storytelling networks and collective identity.


Marialina Antolini

Ph.D. Student
Email: antolini@msu.edu
Read more: Department Bio

Marialina Antolini (MS, Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil) is an Information & Media doctoral student in the School of Journalism. Her research seeks to understand the relationship between communication processes and human rights, with a focus on youth social movements in the Global South.


Dr. Hyesun Choung

Research Associate
Email: choungh@msu.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Hyesun Choung (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences. She is a media effects researcher interested in social implications of emerging information technologies.


Dr. Chuqing Dong

Assistant Professor
Email: cdong@msu.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Chuqing Dong (PhD, University of Minnesota) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations. Her research focuses on public relations, nonprofit communication, and social responsibility.


Dr. Dan Hiaeshutter-Rice

Assistant Professor
Email: dhrice@msu.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Dan Hiaeshutter-Rice (PhD, University of Michigan) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations. He studies political communication with a specific focus on how communication technologies shape content and behaviors.


Moldir Moldagaliyeva

Ph.D. Student
Email: moldagal@msu.edu

 

Moldir Moldagaliyeva (MA, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University; MA, Michigan State University) is an Information and Media doctoral student in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations. She is interested in digital and social media ecology, and information quality.


Dr. Marisa Smith

Assistant Professor
Email: smit3330@msu.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Marisa Smith (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations and the School of Journalism at Michigan State University. Her work investigates the sociopolitical implications of stereotypical portrayals, including racial attitudes and political polarization.

Faculty Affiliates

Dr. Yingying Chen

Assistant Professor
School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina
Email: yychen@sc.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

 

Yingying Chen (PhD, Michigan State University) is an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on the diffusion of information within and across digital media platforms.


Dr. Stephanie Edgerly

Associate Professor and Director of Research
Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University
Email: stephanie.edgerly@northwestern.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Stephanie Edgerly (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an Associate Professor in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her research explores how changes in the media environment impact audience understanding and engagement with news.


Dr. Christopher E. Etheridge

Assistant Professor
William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas
Email: cetheridge@ku.edu
Read more: Department Bio

 

Chris Etheridge (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Assistant Professor in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. His research considers the relationship between community news and information-seeking behaviors.

Alumni

 

Dr. Kelley Cotter

Assistant Professor
College of Information Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University.
Email: kcotter@psu.edu
Read more: Personal Website

 

Kelley Cotter (PhD, Michigan State University) is an Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University. Her research explores how data-centric technologies shape social, cultural, and political life, and vice versa.


Dr. Julia R. DeCook

Assistant Professor
Advocacy and Social Change, School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago
Email: jdecook@luc.edu
Read more: Personal Website

 

Julia R. DeCook (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is an Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change in the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. Her research examines the dynamics of digital infrastructure and platform governance’s impact on online hate groups.


 

Katie Denzin

Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
Email: denzinka@msu.edu

 

Katherine Denzin is an undergraduate student in the Department of History in the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. She was active in the lab from 2021-2022. She is interested in the dynamics of local communities and the role of small businesses.


Melody Draeger

Graduate Student Research Assistant
Email: draeger3@msu.edu

 

Melody Draeger (MA, Michigan State University) is a Class of 2022 graduate of the Advertising + Public Relations MA program in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. She was active in the lab from 2021-2022. Her research focuses on government communication, ethics in advertising, and community digital communication.


Sabrina Kohlmeier

Graduate Student Research Assistant
Email: kohlmei1@msu.edu

 

Sabrina Kohlmeier (MA, Michigan State University) is a Class of 2022 graduate of the Advertising + Public Relations MA program in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. She was active in the lab from 2021-2022. Her research interests focus on political and non-profit communication.


Lydia Werth

Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
Email: werthlyd@msu.edu

 

Lydia Werth (BS, Michigan State University) is a Class of 2022 graduate of the Advertising Management BS program in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. She was active in the lab from 2020-2022. Her research focuses on non-profit communication and the use of social media.